Innovative Digital businesses explore the opportunities within 5G technology

As we move closer to the launch of 5G and transcend from test to live, businesses of all shapes and sizes are doing their level best to ensure that when the button is pressed, they will be in pole position to grab a healthy slice of the next-generation applications and services pie.

Mobile operator, O2 maintains that the direct economic benefits of 5G to the UK economy will overtake those delivered by fixed broadband by 2026. In fact, it claims that the next-gen mobile tech will deliver a £10 billion boost to productivity. [1]

To help startups, scale-ups and larger more established organisations profit from bringing revolutionary services to market, Digital Catapult Centre in Brighton held four workshops to examine 5G opportunities for digital businesses using the UK’s first SME-focused testbed in Brighton to exploit this technology.

The workshops were attended by experts across a range of digital companies and creative technologies.

Workshop One: Explored the technical aspects of 5G.

Workshop Two: Examined how 5G, Virtual and Augmented Reality will be brought to smartphones to deliver immersive experiences on the go.

Workshop Three: Spotlighted ‘the stadium of the future’ where participants discussed how 5G could be used to create new experiences for fans and allow them to augment and share those experiences.

Workshop Four: Covered off the increasingly important relationship between the Internet of Things (IoT) and connected devices.

5G signals an exciting innovation opportunity for small digital businesses

5G is not just about faster mobile connectivity – it unlocks new opportunities for products and business models that were previously thought impossible. We believe that innovation in this space won’t just come from the mobile operators, but disruptive small digital businesses – a group of whom were invited to attend these events.

During the time spent with our experts, attendees developed an increased understanding of the technology that underpins 5G, collaborated to generate new thinking around potential applications and were invited to discuss and define how they could explore the 5G Brighton testbed.

Lead Technologist (Future Networks, 5G Fellow) at Digital Catapult, Dr Dritan Kaleshi, covered some of the key features of 5G that present new opportunities for businesses. These included:

  1. Increased Bandwidth This opens the door to very fast mobile downloads of high quality immersive content (a two-hour film could be downloaded in 3.6 seconds on your phone) and data rich applications.
  2. Reduced Latency 5G will allow complex computation to be completed much closer to end devices. This makes virtual reality and augmented reality experiences much smoother, removing the motion sickness inducing lag.
  3. Programmable Networks – By using network slicing, 5G could provide the opportunity to provide segmented and personalised services and content to end-users. For example, providing differential access to date based on security clearance, right through to information in the cloud. video

The workshops yielded some interesting potential use cases of 5G technology

When the dust had settled and the brains trust had finished documenting their ideas, there were some interesting scenarios that came out of the sessions.

  • Augmented Reality will provide real-time support and diagnostics in maintenance scenarios.
  • Massively immersive and personalised customer experiences in retail.
  • Using real-time wayfinding through built environments.

5G Brighton testbed opens the door for small digital businesses to test and develop existing and new ideas around 5G

Dritan also shared details of the 5G Brighton testbed, which will consist of two phases. The first will be based in the Fusebox in new England house where businesses will be able to access 5G like existing mobile networks. The second phase will be base in a second location, offering a wider area of coverage.

Get involved and prepare to derive the benefits of 5G

We are currently inviting small digital businesses to get in touch to explore how they could further use the testbed to their own commercial advantage. if you’re interested in exploring this further, please contact

You can also join the testbed community group here for news and online collaboration around 5G.

For more information on Digital Catapult’s 5G Brighton testbed go here.

See how, when launched, 5G will become a key part in enabling innovation in the digital economy.

[1] Communications Today: 5G worth more to the UK Economy than Fiber by 2026


Richard Scott


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